Singletary gets first choice to coach offensive line

When Mike Singletary interviewed for head-coaching positions with the Falcons, Cowboys and Chargers in 2006 and ’07, he had a list of prospective assistant coaches to join his would-be staff.


solari.jpgMike Solari was No. 1 on his list as offensive line coach, Singletary said.


Today, it became reality. Singletary hired Solari to replace Chris Foerster, whom he reluctantly gave permission to accept the offensive-line position with the Washington Redskins. Foerster wished to move back East closer to family, Singletary said.


That opened the door for Singletary to hire Solari, who spent the past two seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. When new coach Pete Carroll took over in Seattle, he hired longtime assistant Alex Gibbs to coach the offensive line. Solari was offered a spot on the staff as tight ends coach. But he declined the assignment, saying instructing the offensive line was his love.


In a touch that is uniquely Singletary, Solari’s wife, Patti, was part of the interview process. The Solaris met this morning in Santa Clara with Singletary and his wife, Kim. It was the first time his wife has ever been included in the interview process, Solari said. The only other time he was asked to bring along his wife was more than 20 years ago when Cowboys coach Tom Landry invited her. (She was unable to attend.)

Solari, 55, whose youngest child is in college, returns to the 49ers. He coached from 1992 to ’96 on George Seifert’s staff, and worked alongside legendary line coach Bobb McKittrick.


“He was a great line coach,” Solari said. “I learned quite a bit from him. Bobb was a tremendous coach and a tremendous person.”


Solari said he learned technique, fundamentals and attention to detail from McKittrick. Solari said he believes in a physical offensive line and orchestrating all five men on the line to work as one. He said in today’s NFL, it is important to have a variety of blocking schemes that include wide zone, tight zone and power run schemes.


He worked alongside 49ers offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye with the Chiefs from 1998 to 2000 when Raye was offensive coordinator. The difference with the 49ers is that Solari be working with a group of young offensive lineman. With the Chiefs, he had a veteran line that included Will Shields, Brian Waters and Willie Roaf.


“It’ll be exciting to come in and coach these guys,” Solari said of the 49ers.


Solari knows what it’s like to work with young playeres. Last season, Seattle‘s second-round pick was Max Unger. He started all 16 games for the Seahawks. His first 13 starta were at right guard before he shifted to center.


Solari will obviously be involved in the draft process for the 49ers, as he’ll accompany the team’s coaching staff to Mobile, Ala., next week for Senior Bowl practices. He said he would give his input into the crop of offensive linemen in the draft.


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Singletary said other teams requested to interview 49ers assistant coaches for jobs, but he has denied permission to those teams – just as he initially did with the Redskins and Foerster.


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The Steelers this afternoon announced the hiring of Al Everest as special-teams coordinator. Singletary chose not to retain Everest on his staff. The 49ers hired Kurt Schottenheimer to fill the vacancy.


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